• Marchesk
    2.9k
    Do you think there is a certain kind of humour which can only germinate or grow in misery ?Amity

    There's a certain kind of humor that goes with having lived long enough as a typical human being. Maybe the Elon Musks and Roger Federers of the world are not privy to such humor.
  • Amity
    862
    There's a certain kind of humor that goes with having lived long enough as a typical human being. Maybe the Elon Musks and Roger Federers of the world are not privy to such humor.Marchesk

    You cannot be serious ! :rage:

    But yeah, the key word being 'typical'. Glad you didn't say 'normal'. I love a bit of madness, me :joke:
  • Marchesk
    2.9k
    ou cannot be serious ! :rage:Amity

    To quote the great Homer Simpson:

    Life is one crushing disappointment after another, until you just wish Ned Flanders was dead.
  • Amity
    862
    Homer: I love you, honey.
    Marge: Are you talking to me or the beer?
    Homer: To you my bubbly, longnecked, beechwood aged lover.

    The role of humour in maintaining a loving, romantic relationship.
    Not strictly philosophical but...something to think about...

    'Looking deeper into the issue of sexual satisfaction, women appear to have the edge. Women who have humorous partners enjoy more and stronger orgasms, compared to women who have less funny partners.'

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/humor-sapiens/201811/how-humor-can-change-your-relationship
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    Mad magazine, a US institution famous for the grinning face of jug-eared, tiny-eyed mascot Alfred E Neuman, is to stop being a regular fixture of newsstandsAmity

    I was once a big fan of Mad Magazine. In the early 1970s I graduated, if that's the right word, to Harvard Lampoon and the National Lampoon. This discussion reminded me of the Mad Magazine parody HL put out in 1971. I can't believe it's that long ago. I remember it, even at the age of 18, as a brilliant parody. I just looked it up on the web. It still holds up pretty well. Here's a link:

    http://johnglenntaylor.blogspot.com/2009/12/what-me-funny.html

    I'd also like to direct those of you who are newer to the forum to humorous posts put out by one of the best - and funniest - philosophers on the forum. Just search for Philosophy Joke of the Day.
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    I would like to talk about humour in philosophy. Seriously.Amity

    Plato is said to have slept with a copy of the works of the comic poet/playwright Aristophanes under his pillow. Aristophanes was serious and funny.

    There is a connection between Socratic humor and irony. Many of Socrates' interlocutors were unaware of the irony of Socrates' responses, which makes it doubly ironic. One must see both that it is and why it is ironic. In the same way one must be able to see both that and why some of his responses are humorous.

    Aristophanes appears in Plato's Symposium, where wine and love are mischievously at play. Humor is a form of play, and like other forms of play, there is competition. Here the competition involves making the best speech on love during a drinking competition. It is also a competition between a comic and tragic poet, between philosophy and poetry, and between Aristophanes and Socrates.

    Not a very funny post, I know.
  • Amity
    862
    Not a very funny post, I know.Fooloso4
    Insightful as ever :wink:
    But it is what I was hoping for.
    After I read the SEP article, I couldn't understand the negative focus. I wondered at the reliability of the author.

    '...the vast majority of philosophical comments on laughter and humor focused on scornful or mocking laughter, or on laughter that overpowers people, rather than on comedy, wit, or joking. Plato, the most influential critic of laughter, treated it as an emotion that overrides rational self-control.'

    Clearly, Plato and others would use their sharp wit in their philosophical practice. To great effect.
    Humour is part of the human psyche and comes in all shapes and sizes. Ancient, wise and wonderful thinkers would also have their sly 'digs'...and share scorn. Angels they were not.

    Many of Socrates' interlocutors were unaware of the irony of Socrates' responses, which makes it doubly ironic. One must see both that it is and why it is ironic. In the same way one must be able to see both that and why some of his responses are humorous.Fooloso4

    So, hidden humour played a serious role. As in the competitive Superiority Theory ( same article ) ?
    Why downplay or try to control the human aspects of humour. The power of it.
    They didn't want others to read between their lines...?

    It's the same old reason v emotion argument, isn't it ?
    Superior v Inferior.
  • Amity
    862
    I'd also like to direct those of you who are newer to the forum to humorous posts put out by one of the best - and funniest - philosophers on the forum. Just search for Philosophy Joke of the Day.T Clark

    Just for you :sparkle:
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/2152/philosophy-joke-of-the-day
    You ran out of funnies ? After only 13 pages...
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    So, hidden humour played a serious role. As in the competitive Superiority Theory ( same article ) ?Amity

    I don't see it that way. It is not that the irony or humor is hidden but that it is just not seen. For us, though, it helps to have certain things brought to our attention that we might not be aware of if all we knew was what we read in the dialogues. Aristophanes' The Clouds, for example, is about Socrates and philosophy.

    I do not know about the competitive Superiority Theory, but Socrates was clearly superior both intellectually and morally to many of his interlocutors. The twist though is that many of them thought of themselves as superior. The Theaetetus, for example, is funny because he thinks he is instructing Socrates about piety, but he is clueless. The dialogue ends and it is not clear whether he caught on and confronted his ignorance or if in his ignorance he went on and prosecuted his father as he claimed the gods wanted him to do.
  • Relativist
    862

    Au contraire! Philosphers can be kinda funny:

    Rene Descartes goes up to the counter at Starbucks. “I’ll have a scone,” he says. “Would you like juice with that?” asks the barista. “I think not,” says Descartes, and he ceases to exist.
  • Amity
    862


    I followed up your reference of 'The Philosophy of Laughter and Humour' (1986) edited byJohn Morreall.
    From Amazon:
    Review
    There has long been a need for a source book of classical writings on the nature of humor and laughter. The Morreall book fills this long-standing need. In what other single book can one find out what made Hobbes, Descartes, Kant, and Schopenhauer laugh? And in what other book can one learn what they (and many other philosophers) believed to be the essence of laughter?" -- Jeffrey H. Goldstein, Temple University

    About the Author
    John Morreall is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology. He has written widely in philosophy, religion, and linguistics, and is the author of Taking Laughter Seriously, published by SUNY Press, and Analogy and Talking about God.

    Since then he has written another ( possibly based on earlier material ?):
    Comic Relief: A Comprehensive Philosophy of Humor (New Directions in Aesthetics) by John Morreall (2009).
    From the back cover:
    'Western philosophy's traditional assessment of the nature and value of humor has not been kind, as the standard theories made humor look antisocial, irrational, and foolish. It wasn't until well into the twentieth century that humor gained even a semblance of respect. Comic Relief goes a great way toward ameliorating this injustice. In it, noted philosophical humor writer John Morreall develops a comprehensive theory that integrates psychological, aesthetic, and ethical issues relating to humor. He also presents and critiques the standard Superiority, Incongruity, and Relief Theories of humor, revealing how they not only fail to explain its nature, but actually support traditional prejudices against humor. While utilizing elements from traditional theories of humor, Morreall goes into much greater depth about the opposition between amusement and emotions, the cognitive and practical disengagement in humor, the psychological and social benefits of humor, and the comic vision of life itself. He further argues that humor's benefits overlap significantly with those of philosophy, concluding that philosophy's traditional rejection of humor has been an egregious error. Informed by scholarly research, Comic Relief is an enlightening and accessible foray into the serious business of humor.'

    I thought this sounded familiar and right enough, one reviewer writes:

    'This is a 'comprehensive philosophy,' which means you'll get an expanded version of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article he wrote for 'humor.' '

    In an earlier post to Fooloso4, I questioned the author's reliability ( probably meant credibility ).
    However, Dr. Morreall has built up an impressive career, based on the philosophy of humour.
    His humorworks presentations include real examples, visual materials and interactive
    exercises.There is a list of 9 aspects of humour which he sees as a kind of emotional intelligence.
    The final 2:
    Not all humor is positive. We need to avoid divisive humor such as sarcasm and sexist humor.
    Women and men frequently have different approaches to humor. Men’s humor is often competitive, while women’s is usually cooperative. When we understand these and other differences, we can harness the power of humor to benefit everyone. 

    http://www.humorworks.com/index.php
  • TheMadFool
    4.1k
    Two sides to the coin.

    Heads: The laughing philosopher Democritus

    Tails: The weeping philosopher Heraclitus

    Seriously speaking there's so much pain in the world laughing would be an insult. I remember parents telling their children not to waste food because starvation kills millions.

    On the other hand an old adage claims laughter is the best medicine.

    Now, I'm confused. If you don't mind can you untangle this mess?
  • Amity
    862
    It is not that the irony or humor is hidden but that it is just not seen.Fooloso4

    Why is it not seen ?
    It is not seen because it is hidden from view. Not seen due to a cloudy lens of ignorance. Or different perspective...

    Perhaps not deliberately as a way to feel superior. But still isn't there a psychological pull to be a head above? The unveiling of meaning in philosophical tomes is a weighty and time-consuming business. Just look at the Wittgenstein threads. I think he would be amused. Probably has something to say on humour too...

    It is about competition as you say. Not all play.

    I think, as Dr. John Morreall suggests, there is often a gender difference in approaches to humour.
    A tendency for men to be competitive, women co-operative.
    Perhaps similar to approaches in discussion forums?
    Just a thought. The difference between laughing at, and laughing with.
  • Amity
    862
    Now, I'm confused. If you don't mind can you untangle this mess?TheMadFool

    It is a confusion of your own making. Undo it yourself.
    I know you can :wink:
  • Amity
    862
    Au contraire! Philosphers can be kinda funny:

    Rene Descartes goes up to the counter at Starbucks. “I’ll have a scone,” he says. “Would you like juice with that?” asks the barista. “I think not,” says Descartes, and he ceases to exist.
    Relativist

    There is no doubt. Philosophers can be kinda funny. Hilarious even.
    The version of that joke I heard many years ago:

    Rene Descartes walks into a bar and orders a drink. When he finishes his drink, the bartender asks him if he would like another. Descartes replies, “No, I think not,” and disappears in a puff of logic.

    I found it funny then. Appreciated it because I had just learned about Descartes.
    If, out of ignorance, I didn't get it, how humiliating would it have been ?
    If someone has to explain a joke, it loses its fun...
  • TheMadFool
    4.1k
    It is a confusion of your own making. Undo it yourself.
    I know you can
    Amity

    Ok. Thanks. :smile:
  • Amity
    862
    Ok. Thanks. :smile:TheMadFool

    Sorry, madfool, that was very bad and cruel of me. :naughty: :worry:

    What you wrote was interesting but I am off out now and not in the mood for philosophy games. Perhaps we can have more fun later ?
    Untangling the tango.. :starstruck:
  • Amity
    862
    Humour gets in the way of seeing or telling it like it is. To our detriment.
    Comedy distracts.

    'Donald Trump wants to be a dictator. It’s not enough just to laugh at him'
    by Jonathan Freedland
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/05/donald-trump-dictator-not-enough-laugh

    '...the laughter gets in the way. So we snigger at Ivanka Trump ludicrously barging her way into a powwow of world leaders, making a meme of #uninvitedIvanka, rather than confronting head-on the reality that Trump is doing what dictators always do: he’s building a hereditary dynasty, so that his power won’t end with his death. Those images at the G20 looked absurd to us, but they will take their place in the showreel, so that, come the 2024 or 2028 elections, they can be used as proof of Ivanka’s supposed experience on the global stage.'

    There's more in this excellent article with its sobering other image framing the 4th July.
    The suicidal 4yr old, traumatised and caged, separated from parents in a detention camp, face covered in self-inflicted scratches.
    Guess that won't be shown as part of Trump's family business.
  • Amity
    862


    By the way, there's another, longer version of the Descartes joke in the resources section of David Chalmers' site ( including Zombies on the Web )
    http://consc.net/philosophical-humor/

    On a more serious note, and a couple of steps up, there are links to recent Talks @ Google
    For example, on 'The Meta-Problem of Consciousness', April 2019.

    http://consc.net
  • Amity
    862
    It is a confusion of your own making. Undo it yourself.
    I know you can
    — Amity

    Ok. Thanks. :smile:
    TheMadFool

    So are you still confused about what you wrote ?
    What specifically ?
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    In conclusion, most philosophers are humourless gits.Amity

    I suspect that many philosophers probably are humorless gits. This is probably associated with their low appreciation of being embodied beings--creatures of flesh and blood with all sorts of drives which which are "in charge" a good share [or all?] of the time. Confidently embodied people understand that their rational facilities are subservient to their emotions--like it or not. (It's emotional drives that sends people to college to study philosophy which foolishly elevates rationality over emotionality.)

    To avoid misunderstanding... I'm in favor of people being rational. But we discount and ignore our emotional drives at our peril.

    People too wrapped up in their cogitations can't afford to laugh at their ridiculousness.
  • T Clark
    4.2k
    When we understand these and other differences, we can harness the power of humor to benefit everyone.Amity

    Harnessed humor is not humor anymore. On TV they try to harness humor using laugh tracks. As someone else said on this thread, humor is play. You can't harness play either. You can stop it, but that's as far as you can go.
  • Amity
    862
    When we understand these and other differences, we can harness the power of humor to benefit everyone.
    — Amity

    Harnessed humor is not humor anymore. On TV they try to harness humor using laugh tracks. As someone else said on this thread, humor is play. You can't harness play either. You can stop it, but that's as far as you can go.
    T Clark

    I'll respond to your words at the end of this explanatory part.
    Apologies: I missed out the quote marks in that part of the post, despite my best intentions. I hope not to take credit for the thoughts of Dr. Morreall. The 'harnessed' comment is at the end. Here it is in full, from

    http://www.humorworks.com/index.php

    Using real examples, lots of visual materials, and interactive exercises, John shows audiences how:

    • Play is not the opposite of work. Companies like Southwest Airlines which have put play and humor into their corporate culture have soared to the top of their industries.
    • Physically and mentally, humor is the opposite of stress.Laughter lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation, reduces muscle tension and pain, and boosts the immune system.
    • Humor fosters mental flexibility, blocking negative emotions and allowing us to think our way through problems instead of feeling our way through them. It makes us more creative and better at coping with change.
    • When we have a sense of humor about ourselves, we see ourselves more objectively, "as other people do," to use the words of the old Candid Camera jingle. That makes us less defensive and more cooperative.
    • Sharing humor is essential to building and maintaining teams. It's a kind of emotional intelligence.
    • Humor serves as a social lubricant. It improves most kinds of communication, especially potentially threatening messages such as warning, evaluating, criticizing, and saying no. With humor we can complain without bitching.
    • Because humor short-circuits conflict, it is useful in coping with difficult people.
    • Not all humor is positive. We need to avoid divisive humor such as sarcasm and sexist humor.
    • Women and men frequently have different approaches to humor. Men’s humor is often competitive, while women’s is usually cooperative. When we understand these and other differences, we can harness the power of humor to benefit everyone. 
    Dr. Morreall
    ----
    [ just worked out how to make a clear and distinct quote, much better !]

    It is not humour that is harnessed. It is the power of it.
    As can be seen, humour can be many things, including play.
    Play if it involves power can indeed be harnessed. Like all energy or action.
    Harness: to control and make use of [ natural resources ].
  • Amity
    862

    I think I totally agree with you. But I'm brain dead :groan:
  • Bitter Crank
    8.4k
    I'm brain deadAmity

    Let's hope that's an exaggeration.
  • Amity
    862
    I'm brain dead
    — Amity

    Let's hope that's an exaggeration.
    Bitter Crank

    Yes. And perhaps a bit of a humourless, non-facilitating, self-defeating joke.
    Perhaps showing a subconscious fear of being that very thing.

    Cranking up the brain cells now.

    I suspect that many philosophers probably are humorless gits. This is probably associated with their low appreciation of being embodied beings--creatures of flesh and blood with all sorts of drives which which are "in charge" a good share [or all?] of the time.Bitter Crank

    Yes, many might be. I tend to think that humour, as a sense, is an ingrained part of being a human.
    It just goes AWOL at certain times and for various reasons. Both reason and emotion, mental and physical factors involved.

    So, we climb down from the title's generalisation to a more qualified, specific scenario of types of philosophers.
    Which philosophers might have a 'low appreciation' of having physical drives and who might deny the influence of emotions ? Those steeped in an academic tradition of serious analytical reasoning with little time for frivolous concerns such as 'humour'?

    Confidently embodied people understand that their rational facilities are subservient to their emotions--like it or not. (It's emotional drives that sends people to college to study philosophy which foolishly elevates rationality over emotionality.)Bitter Crank

    'Confidently' understanding. What stops their reasoning from working out their motivation stems from a basic movement i.e. fear or desire ?
    Is it fear itself ?

    [In another thread - about Mary Midgley - one of the questions of significance was to ask philosophers what were they most afraid of.
    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/4326/death-of-mary-midgley ]

    As to academic study of philosophy, I think that to 'elevate rationality over emotionality' is the essence. 'Emotionality' is not the subject matter. However, they will definitely discuss the old and ancient arguments of reason v emotion. It's important that the interaction of both is recognised.

    To avoid misunderstanding... I'm in favor of people being rational. But we discount and ignore our emotional drives at our peril.Bitter Crank

    Glad you're in favour of people being rational. Too bad if you weren't !
    Again, all kinds of rationality...including reasons to be cheerful 1, 2, 3.

    Is humour an emotional drive ? Or simply an aesthetic sense. A brain management tool ?
    Morreall sees it as a kind of emotional intelligence. Wonder how an IQ test would compare to an EQ ?
    Apply both to Wittgenstein and stir.

    People too wrapped up in their cogitations can't afford to laugh at their ridiculousness.Bitter Crank

    I guess this might mean academic philosophers who have spent their lives in pursuit of some truth via seriously deep study and research. Who might never lift their heads to smell the roses but can appreciate a beer or two. Perhaps a man huddle in a corner of a dingy pub in London. The only consolation in the select few of like attracting like.

    Even if they can't distance themselves from their projects, they will still have their humour.
    Like Monty Python and the Holy Grail. On a lonely trail.

    So, in conclusion:...
  • Amity
    862
    ...
    It is not true that all philosophers are humourless gits. But some might be, even if they can tell a joke.

    Definitions:
    A philosopher: a person who philosophises.
    To philosophise: what a philosopher does.
    A git: an unpleasant, silly, incompetent, annoying, senile, elderly or childish person ( Wikipedia)
    [ Edit 9th July to add:
    'Git' is usually used as an insult, more severe than twit but less severe than a true profanity like wanker or arsehole, and may often be used affectionately between friends.
    'Get' can also be used, with a subtle change of meaning. 'You cheeky get!' is slightly less harsh than 'You cheeky git!'.
    https://www.yourdictionary.com/git ]

    Humourless: unable to see when something is funny, usually because of being too serious ( some online dictionary )
    Humour: isn't just about being funny.

    If humour were a glass of beer, philosophers in pubs would be full of it. Or half empty. Or something.
    Probably.

    Closing down now with special mention to Dr. John Morreall, a non-git philosopher who can do humour with authority and fun and makes lots of money. And all the participants, human or non-human, who helped in the production of this most serious of projects. Who did it for the love of it :hearts: :love:
    Cheers :party:
  • Fooloso4
    1.1k
    DefinitionsAmity

    I am reminded of Arthur Koestler's definition: "the systematic abuse of a terminology specially invented for that purpose."
  • Amity
    862
    Definitions
    — Amity

    I am reminded of Arthur Koestler's definition: "the systematic abuse of a terminology specially invented for that purpose."
    Fooloso4

    Definitions

    The philosophical quest for definition can sometimes fruitfully be characterized as a search for an explanation of meaning. But the sense of ‘explanation of meaning’ here is very different from the sense in which a dictionary explains the meaning of a word.Anil Gupta

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/definitions/
  • Hanover
    5k
    Definitions:Amity

    Speaking of definitions, I must admit I'd never heard of a git until you mentioned it. It must be a British insult, probably used with the word bloody. My spell check changes it to got, which means it's not a real word as far as spell check is concerned.

    I therefore rule it not a word.

    Anticipating you'll object to my ruling on stupidity grounds, I point out that I'm not the first ruling body to delangauge the word. The House of Commons has previously ruled similarly when it ruled the word unparliamentary language: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unparliamentary_language . I find myself in good company.

    Carry on.
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